LionChief Plus Hudson

10 02 2014

Leading the charge with the new LionChief™ Plus locomotives is the Hudson. One of the most popular locomotives in Lionel history, this classic example of Super Power steam will be a perfect fit on any layout.

Prototype Background


The production sample of our new C&O Hudson performs as good as it looks!

As passenger trains grew in length and weight in the 1920s, the New York Central found itself in a motive power problem. With its Pacifics limited to 12 car trains, many of its long distance passenger trains were running in multiple sections. A more powerful passenger locomotive was needed.

While many railroads at the time were stretching the Pacific and adding additional drivers for more power, the New York Central took a different course and applied the new “Super Power” concept of the Lima Locomotive Works’ Berkshire. Adding a larger firebox, supported by a four-wheel trailing truck, the Central created the first 4-6-4. Only 5 inches longer than the road’s K-5 Pacific, the new locomotive generated more than 3,800 pounds of additional tractive effort.


The LionChief Plus Hudson is the latest in a long line of Lionel replicas of this NYC icon.

The first 4-6-4 was completed by ALCo in 1927 and NYC President Pat Crowley had the honor of naming her. “Hudson” was chosen after the Hudson River. As if building the first locomotive and naming it weren’t enough, the NYC had by far the largest roster of Hudsons – 195 in total – forever linking this locomotive with the New York Central in the hearts and minds of most railfans.

Twenty other railroads (including NYC-controlled Michigan Central and Boston and Albany) owned at least one Hudson. Primarily a passenger locomotive, they were sometimes seen in fast freight and mail train service as well. The Hudsons served well until the end of steam. Twenty-one survive in museums – unfortunately none of those are from the New York Central.

LionChief™ Plus Hudson


The proportions of these LionChief Plus Hudsons work well with traditional and scale freight cars. Production Union Pacific sample shown.

Your LionChief™ Plus Hudson is ready to go to work on any railroad. With its LionChief™ Remote it can run on layouts powered by the LionChief™ wall pack, a conventional transformer (set to 18V) or a Command Control system. Flip a switch on the locomotive and you can run it conventionally with a transformer as well. (For more information on the LionChief™ Plus control system and how it relates to others, see last week’s blog.)

It’s not just the control system that sets the new LionChief™ Plus locomotives apart. This new Hudson is packed with features normally reserved for our more expensive models. The locomotives include:

  • User selected operation – Conventional AC transformer control or LionChief™ Wireless Remote (included)
  • RailSounds RC™ with steam chuffing and background sounds, whistle, bell and user activated announcements
  • Fan-driven smoke
  • Speed Control maintains a constant speed on curves and grades automatically
  • ElectroCoupler on tender controlled by the remote


    Canadian National had 5 Hudsons, all built in Canada.

  • Operating headlight
  • Maintenance-free motor
  • Die-cast locomotive body, frame and trucks
  • Metal tender frame
  • Lighted cab interior
  • Flickering Firebox
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • Traction Tires

The Hudsons’ cabs feature detailed backheads, crew figures and a flickering firebox. The drawbar connection to the tender automatically connects the wiring.

The LionChief™ Plus Hudson will be available in Canadian National, Chesapeake and Ohio, New York Central and Union Pacific. The LionChief remote is preprogrammed specifically for each locomotive. You can have one of each on your layout – or any number of the other LionChief™ or LionChief™ Plus locomotives – without a signal conflict.

The new locomotives will retail for $429.99. See your local Lionel dealer to place your order today. The Hudsons should be available by early Summer.

New Product Spotlight – Weathered Locomotives

21 01 2014

Hard work and harsh weather quickly take their tole on trains. It doesn’t take long before the gleam of fresh paint is covered in soot, dust and grime. And before you know it, the rust starts creeping in. All of this weathering alters the look of a locomotive and makes each one unique. Recreating these effects in miniature is an art.


Weathered for a realistic in-service appearance, the massive 4-12-2 is even more impressive!

Weathering is one of the best ways to add realism to any model. While attacking the perfect finish of a fine model can be intimidating, by selectively highlighting certain details, weathering often enhances more of a model’s original beauty rather than obscuring it. And, like the prototype, each weathered model is unique.

We’ve presented some tips on weathering here on the blog in the past. While starting with an inexpensive freight car is a great way to learn, stepping up to a LEGACY locomotive can be scary. Lionel has partnered with artist Harry Heike to bring you the look of some hard-working locomotives without any fear.


Subtle weathering effects call out the many small details on the 4-12-2’s massive boiler.

A life-long enthusiast and modeler, Harry has turned his love and talents into a commercial venture since 1998. He has already produced more than 75 prototypes for Lionel so there’s a good chance some of his handiwork is already on your layout! Now you can see his artistry first-hand with three new weathered locomotives.

We’re launching this weathering effort with some unique locomotives. For steam fans, there is the massive Union Pacific 9000. These 4-12-2’s earned their keep along the midwestern plains. For more history of the prototype and all of the features of these amazing models, see this earlier blog post.

PRR Sharks

Battles with the Alleghenies kept the Pennsy’s freight diesels in an almost constant coat of grime.

We’ve chosen an equally distinctive diesel prototype for weathering as well. The Baldwin RF-16 “Sharknose” A-A diesels powered freight trains over many northeastern lines. Weathered versions will be available for both the B&O and Pennsylvania. For more background and model features, see this previous post.

B&O Sharks

Weathering doesn’t have to be excessive to be impressive. Subtle effects greatly enhance the details on even the B&O’s classic paint scheme.

The locomotives are being weathered to reflect a few years of operation – hard working but well-maintained machines. Note that each model will be hand-weathered by the artist, so no two will be exactly the same.

Take your roster to the next level of realism with these new weathered locomotives. Just be forewarned – after seeing how good these look you might be tempted to try your own hand at the process.

The weathered AA (Powered and Non-powered) Sharks retail for $829.99 and the weathered 4-12-2 for $1299.99. See your dealer to order your custom masterpiece today.

New Product Spotlight – City of Los Angeles

30 09 2013

Let’s head west this week with the City of Los Angeles as we take a closer look at our upcoming streamliners.

The City of Los Angeles
Most passenger trains were the pride of a railroad and closely associated with its image; the New York Central’s 20th Century, the Great Northern’s Empire Builder, the Santa Fe’s Chief. But there were also a select group of trains which were shared by several roads. In the eyes of the traveling public, it didn’t matter whose name was on the letterboards as long as the service inside the car was comfortable and friendly.


The UP featured EMD E units in the advertising for it’s City trains, including the City of LA.

The City of Los Angeles began as a joint service between Chicago and Los Angeles via the Chicago and Northwestern and Union Pacific in 1936. At the time, only one train consist was available, making only 5 round trips per month. It became a daily train in 1947.

In 1955, operations east of Omaha shifted from the CNW to the Milwaukee Road. It was also in this year that a new train consist was added with dome cars, including a dome lounge observation. This lounge car was used for sleeping car passengers. There was an additional dome diner and lounge car for coach passengers. At this time there were also connecting cars from New York via the Pennsylvania and New York Central (operating on alternate days and using cars lettered for the owning railroad but painted in UP’s yellow color scheme for a matched consist in the west.) Connecting cars from Minneapolis and St. Paul also arrived in Chicago via the CNW.

The dome observations only lasted about a year. In 1956 the UP modified them and placed them mid-train behind the diner. That year also saw the seasonal combination of service with the Challenger between Omaha and Los Angeles. During peak season, the City was sleeper only, with the Challenger handling coach travelers.


The Milwaukee’s E9s were also frequently seen on the City of Los Angeles, especially when second sections were run.

As service slowly declined through the 1960s, the train was combined with some of the UP’s other City streamliners. First with the City of San Francisco in 1960. At Ogden, the San Francisco section was pulled out and departed via the Southern Pacific. By 1969 it had become a “City of Everywhere” (never an official name) with multiple sections being combined. Between Cheyenne and Green River, WY. the train averaged 27 cars behind an impressive A-B-B-B-B-A consist of E9s!

The domes disappeared altogether in 1970 and the train would make its last run in 1971 with the arrival of Amtrak. Some cars from the 1955 consist have survived in private hands.

Lionel’s Models

Now you can recreate the glory years of this fine train on the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road. The 18″ aluminum passenger cars will look great behind our new E9s, or a variety of other motive power.

The new E9s include one powered and one non-powered locomotive. Both engines feature:

  • Fan-driven smoke unit with adjustable output
  • Directional lighting including LED headlights


    The E9 was a regular feature on the City of LA and other important trains.

  • Front ElectroCouplers
  • Working front Marker Lights
  • Illuminated number boards
  • Lighted and detailed cab interior
  • Die-cast metal trucks, fuel tank and pilots
  • High level of separately applied details
  • O-31 minimum curve

Powered locomotives also feature:

  • LEGACY Control – also capable of running on TMCC or Conventional
  • Odyssey II Speed Control
  • LEGACY RailSounds including
    • CrewTalk and TowerCom dialog
    • 6 Railroad speeds
    • 8 Diesel RPM levels
    • LEGACY Quilling horn
    • Single hit or continuous mechanical bell
    • Sequence control provides sounds and dialog for an entire trip around your layout
    • Current speed and fuel dialog and refueling sounds
  • Dual motors with flywheels
  • Refined Transformer Control with lower starting speeds
  • Traction Tires
  • Engineer and Fireman figures

Passenger cars feature:

  • Die-cast sprung metal trucks with operating couplers featuring hidden uncoupling tabs
  • Extruded aluminum bodies with flush-fitting windows


    You could easily combine multiple sets of our City of Los Angeles cars to recreate the prototype’s often colossal consists.

  • Operating end vestibules with flexible diaphragms
  • Separately applied metal roof vents and grab irons
  • Interior lighting with on/off switch
  • Detailed interiors with passenger and crew figures
  • Operating marker and end lights on observation car
  • Lighted drumhead on observation car
  • Metal frame
  • Metal underframe details
  • O-54 minimum curve

The locomotives retail for $929.99 and the passenger car 4-packs for $639.99. The City of Los Angeles showed the cooperation railroads could bring when the public demanded the best in service. Don’t miss this opportunity to serve the fine folks of Plasticville, Lionelville or any of the towns on your layout.

New Product Spotlight – C&O H-7 2-8-8-2

15 07 2013

The Chesapeake and Ohio always prided itself on its pursuit of the most modern steam power for all services. In 1924 that search led them to the 2-8-8-2, class H-7. Unlike previous locomotives of this size, the H-7 was a “simple” articulated.

On a simple articulated, steam is fed directly into both sets of pistons on the articulated frame. Earlier Mallet, or compound locomotives fed steam from the boiler to one set of pistons only. The exhausted steam from that pair was fed into the other. Because the expansive properties of steam, the secondary pistons needed to be larger than the first to generate the same power.


The H-7 shared the C&O’s distinctive style with air compressors and feed water heater on the crowded smokebox front.

Nicknamed “Simple Simons” on the C&O, there was really nothing simple about these massive locomotives. After receiving 25 from Alco in 1924, the C&O went to Baldwin for 20 more in 1926. The two classes of locomotives were visually identical but the Baldwins were credited as being slightly heavier. All of the locomotives generated an impressive 4,092 horsepower at the pistons.


Union Pacific made some cosmetic refinements to their H-7s, though the overall hefty look remained.

Although the locomotives were powerful, they were just one step in the evolution towards better power as the C&O pushed ahead and embraced “Super Power” locomotives. 2-10-4s replaced the slower Simons in flatter terrain and the massive “Allegheny” 2-6-6-6s took over their roles in the mountains. C&O sold 30 to the Union Pacific in 1945. The UP too retired the locomotives as soon as new power could be ordered. The remaining H-7s on the C&O finished their days in hump yards.

Whether you want to drag black diamonds out of the Appalachians, haul freight up Sherman Hill, or just switching cars in the yard, the H-7 will be a good fit on your layout. The Lionel model features all of the great sounds and control you’ve come to expect with specific details appropriate for the C&O and Union Pacific. The locomotives include:

  • LEGACY Control System equipped – able to run in LEGACY Control mode, in TrainMaster Command Control mode, or in Conventional mode with a standard transformer
  • Odyssey II Speed Control with On/Off switch
  • LEGACY RailSounds system featuring:
    – CrewTalk dialog and TowerCom announcements, each with different scenarios depending on whether the locomotive is in motion or stopped
    – Six official railroad speeds with Crewtalk dialog
    – DynaChuff synchronized with 32 levels of intensity as the locomotive gains speed
    – LEGACY “Real-Time Quilling Whistle” control with instant response for realistic signature ‘quilling’ and correctly timed warning signals
    – Single hit or continuous mechanical bell sounds
    – Sequence Control plays the sound effects of an entire trip, including warning sounds and announcements, based on the movement and speed of the locomotive
    – Current speed and fuel dialog, refueling sound effects
  • Powerful maintenance-free motor with momentum flywheel
  • Wireless Tether connection between locomotive and tender
  • ElectroCoupler on rear of tender
  • Directional lighting including operating headlight and back-up light on rear of tender
  • Illuminated classification lights on the front of locomotive
  • Traction tires
  • Fan-driven smoke unit
  • Adjustable smoke output
  • Interior illumination in cab
  • Die-cast metal locomotive body, pilot, and frame
  • Die-cast metal tender body and trucks
  • High level of separately applied metal details
  • Separately applied builder’s plates
  • Authentically detailed cab interior
  • Glowing ashpan and firebox in cab
  • Cab glass windows
  • Engineer and fireman figures
  • O-72 Minimum curve

The locomotives retail for $1349.99 each and have already shipped. See your dealers to add one of these powerful and pivotal locomotives to your roster today!